I walked away from a silent meditation retreat last February with the imperative to get outside my comfort zone. To do something new and unfamiliar; to put on beginner’s mind and take it for a spin. That intention eventually evolved into the ongoing study in Depth Psychology I shared about last month. Let me tell you, the lessons keep rolling in. The latest? The question of purpose.

When I started the program, my mentor asked me to set a specific goal (something outside my comfort zone) that we would work with and toward through the course of the year to create a framework— a gauge for the self in relationship to the external world. This is what I came up with: “to spend the next year immersed in deep study, with curiosity and beginner’s mind, without expectation of result or plan for the future.” So, yeah. Outside my comfort zone.

Working with a partner this week, I asked for some help to review that goal and my relationship to it. To make a decision about whether or not it still felt soul aligned. Am I still flowing in the right current, or is it time to start planning and preparing (hustling) for what’s next? It seems ridiculous even as I type it, and the insight gathered was (as it always is) a good reminder and lesson. Perhaps it will shed some light on where you are in your own journey of becoming as well. 

Being “in process” for this length of time had begun to cast doubt. Shouldn’t this be resolved by now? As a person who has professionally centered purpose for well over two decades, six months has felt like an impossible ask to just be sort of floating out there, not sure what I’m doing or where I am going. To be of service, to live a life of purpose is the whole reason to be, right? What does this mean, what is next, why am I doing this? So. Many. Questions.

After sharing my concerns, the session went a little something like this:

Jeff: What would happen if you never figure it out? 

Jill: Silence. 

Jeff: What would happen if you never have an answer? 

Jill: More silence. Plus nausea. <<For those who know me well, no, I didn’t die or implode, but it felt close.>>

The crux of transformational shadow work is identifying the fear hidden beneath the reactivity. In this case, what was living underneath my horrible feeling of never figuring it out or my compulsion to figure it out and find an answer? These questions hit home. These questions took me in an instant from the surface to the center.

We started with the obvious. The problem (for me) with never figuring it out is that it’s messy and fraught with uncertainty. I don’t like it. It’s uncomfortable and disorienting. It’s MESSY AND UNCERTAIN. 

Jeff: What’s so bad about messy and uncertain?

Jill: There is no clear purpose for being.

Jeff: What kind of life does a person with no clear purpose for being have? 

Jill: A life that is empty and without meaning: a wasted incarnation. <<An appropriate place to insert any one of a number of emojis.>>

Jeff: So you are afraid of wasting your life.

Jill: Yes. As that would be disconnected from source.

As soon as I said it, I had to backtrack. Is it really possible to be disconnected from source or higher Self? If you believe (and I do) that our true nature is the Self—  is pure consciousness—  you can’t actually be disconnected from it. You ARE it. Translation: what you are afraid of is not a thing.

Do we forget? Yes. Do we misidentify? Absolutely. Are there things we can do to remember? Absolutely yes. <<Ahem. Daily practice.>>

Jeff: If the weight of that fear wasn’t so heavy, what would open up for you? 

Jill: I would remember that when I identify as the higher Self, I am actually in the center of my purpose, regardless of how the divine is currently expressing itself through me. 

<<Thunderbolt of realization.>> Regardless of how. That was the thing. The doubt arose from the spinning which was rooted in my attachment to how it should look. Why? Because it’s looked a particular way for quite a long time, and as it turns out, I’m very attached to that version of the I-maker, ahamkara, the ego.  I very much liked the “this is who I am and this is what I do” persona. Clear and concise. Not messy or uncertain. Purposeful in a way that I could easily recognize and name.

And/also that was just one identity. And/also I am so much more than that.

Exactly what, I’m still uncovering. I hope you are, too. In the meantime, remember this: when you identify as the higher Self, you are in the center of your purpose, regardless of how the divine is currently expressing itself through you. 

All blessings,